Manhattan, Brooklyn see record high rents while concessions slip

Rising rents linked to soft sales market and new rent laws

Rental prices hit new highs in Brooklyn and Manhattan last month as concessions slightly decreased.

In Brooklyn, the median rent price reached a record high of $3,015 following eight consecutive months of growth, according to the latest market report from Douglas Elliman.

Rent prices also climbed in Manhattan, where the median price reached $3,500. In outlier Northwest Queens, median rents dropped 1.2 percent to $2,960.

Jonathan Miller, CEO of appraisal firm Miller Samuel and author of the report, said the rent increases were driven by a soft sales market, which led prospective buyers to “camp out” while they waited for the market to shift.

Furthermore, he said new rent laws passed in June would likely have triggered rent increases, though he acknowledged that observation was merely anecdotal and had not been quantified.

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The report showed that concession were sliding but remained high overall, despite predictions they would melt away as the rental market strengthened.

“Concessions were so high for so long that it’s baked into the market in terms of how people think,” Miller said. “There’s an expectation [from renters] that there’ll be a concession.”

Hal Gavzie, Douglas Elliman’s executive manager of leasing, said he didn’t predict there would be any dramatic changes to concession trends in the next year.


Gavzie handles one of Elliman’s offices in Queens, where the median rent fell for the third time in 2019, according to the report. He said the trend was tied to the large amount of new development in the area.

Queens is becoming increasingly attractive to New Yorkers as prices in Manhattan soar. To put that into perspective: in the past two months, the median rent for studios and one-bedroom apartments hit 11-year highs, Miller said. For a studio, that translated to $2,700. For a one bedroom, that meant a median price of $3,595.